The Area X.O Mobile Command Centre (MCC) is a one-of-a-kind command vehicle that was
originally established by InDro Robotics.
The project was developed through a unique collaboration between InDro Robotics, Invest
Ottawa and other Ottawa based industry partners such as Nokia, Kongsberg GeoSpatial, SmartCone Technologies, Inc., and Microsoft.
The fully equipped 5G mobile command vehicle features remotely piloted aircraft systems
(RPAS). The vehicle is also capable of deploying a secure 5G network at any time, and
anywhere. In creating this system, InDro Robotics worked closely with first responders in
ensuring the vehicle is built to support emergency workers and rural innovation by allowing
small and medium-sized enterprises to ratify more solutions in their area.
The objective of the vehicle was to create a mobile technology that can be deployed rapidly for
emergency first response, search and rescue, command and control, and smart mining and
“One vehicle that can pull together a joint command of emergency support and offer a more in-
depth situational awareness can really assist in many unexpected natural disasters,” said Philip
Reece, President and CEO of InDro Robotics.
The base frame of the MCC is a Mercedes Sprinter 2500. The interior of the command vehicle features a workspace for the system operators, including seating and space for monitors, which was provided by Invest Ottawa. The system uses high-performance and reliable private wireless connectivity between the vehicle and Nokia’s drones to create situational awareness of critical situations happening in close proximity.
Unmanned Ground and Aerial Vehicles
The MCC allows for drones to be automatically deployed on-site. The pilot and payload operators; stationed within the van control multiple RPAS flights, while transmitting live video and data back to the Pilots, MCC and offsite command centres. The van’s multiple screens allow for full coordination of the drone, even in the most complex areas. The van’s Kongsberg system works by scanning the skies for other aircraft, while Smartcones technology secures the ground environment.
Advanced Sensor Analytics Capability
Advanced sensors from SmartCone Technologies, Inc. were installed to increase situational awareness, including ultra-wideband positioning system, asset tracking, bird’s eye surveillance, and more. Kongsberg Geospatial IRIS UxS system uses a sequence of sensor and software technology that gives operators a real-time picture of their operational area when piloting one or more unmanned vehicles beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS). A Microsoft AzureStack Edge system is also deployed to enable edge analytics across secured data from RPAS footage and sensors in disconnected areas. This will enable first responders on the ground and inform central headquarters with full awareness of the situation.
LTE and 5G Radio Capabilities
The Area X.O MCC is equipped with private LTE and 5G radio systems that are enabled to
instantly deploy communication bubbles around the area of the vehicle. The 5G can be used to help first responders become more efficient in gaining situational awareness with the vehicle’s range of environmental sensors. 5G can also be deployed to provide last-time connectivity in rural areas, bringing high-speed broadband to everyone in the area.
InDro Robotics played an instrumental role in the creation of the MCC by contributing novel
RPAS technology and expertise to the fully equipped van. Once the vehicle was completed,
InDro Robotics expanded to Ottawa to capitalize on more opportunities at Area X.O., launched
by Invest Ottawa, and looked to bring more capabilities to innovators, firms, and communities
Nokia and Area X.O will tour the MCC across Canada to demonstrate how the vehicle can be
used for aiding in unsafe conditions and defending public safety. Public safety organization who
are interested in demonstrating the MCC can contact InDro Robotics here.
“We were really impressed with how the partners’ technology all fit so well together to produce
an end result that has not been seen before in a mobile command unit,” said Reece.